Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #57-Accepting Compliments and Accolades

Compliments….for whatever reason, for so many of us, they can be difficult to take.

There really isn’t much more to say about this except for the fact that many of us hear a compliment and it just makes us uncomfortable.  I’m actually working with a client now who struggles to hear good feedback.  It’s come up in her most recent performance review as an area for improvement.  Also, even in our coaching journey together, when I congratulate her for work well-done on something or showing progress in a particular area in which she has really been focusing, she immediately reflects it back to me.  Well, it’s because I have a great coach… Oh it wasn’t that hard… I mean I could’ve done more…..etc and I could go on and on.  Of course I call her out on this as needed, and she’s actually getting better at it but it still is an area of opportunity for her.

Interestingly enough, she is not the only one.  Just this week one of our followers, Angie ImBlessed shared the following which reminded me of this reality


Many of us, (if not all) including me, have challenges from time to time accepting the simplest of compliments or even accepting accolades and credit for work well-done.  I mean, think about it, really think about it.  When was the last time someone offered you up a compliment and you offered up a self-loathing response or totally minimized it or even just totally changed the topic.  I know for myself, a really bad habit is when I get a compliment on something I’m wearing, I have this quick response of just telling them where I got it from and how it was on sale….like that’s the big win!  A friend actually just called me out on this.  He gave me a compliment on something I was wearing, and now I don’t really remember what I said, but his only response was “Farah, how does that have anything to do with the fact that you look really nice in the dress?”  I had no response so I just said, “You know what, you’re right.  Thanks!”  FYI-if you didn’t know before that I’m totally on this Living Fabulously Fierce journey with you and not preaching at you, my transparency here definitely tells you that now!

So, what do we do about this?  Honestly, we each have different, potentially very deep reasons for our knee jerk responses to compliments.It takes some self-reflection to identify what yours are and start to address them.  For now though, one simple item—I know, I always say it’s simple..but this time, I soooooooo promise—Ready?  Just. say. Thank you!  Boom!  No, no, you don’t even have to pay the person a compliment back….seriously, it’s ok.  Just say thank you and if you’re really struggling with leaving it there, I totally dare you to take it a step further…..The next time someone says,

“You look really nice”….just say, “thank you…I felt like this outfit looked nice too.”

“Great job on your presentation”…..just say, “thank you…I felt like I did a really good job.”

“Love your earrings”….just say, “thank you…..I decided to treat myself.”

“You really turned that project around!!!”…”thank you…I committed to doing my very best.”

So, what’s the Compliment Acceptance Formula (yup, totally just made that up):

  • Option A: Thank you=thank you……and stop
  • Option B: Thank you +Positive agreement reinforced through sharing how you felt (eg “You look really nice”….just                        say, “thank you…I felt like this outfit looked nice too.”)
  • Option C: Thank you+ Positive Action you took that warranted the compliment you received )eg “Great job on your                        presentation”…..just say, “thank you…I felt like I did a really good job.”)

Now, ladies, there are too many options available not to have this work for you….or at the veeeeeeeery least, just try it out.  Just pick one and try it out this week!  I dare you!  And while you’re at it, don’t forget to offer up a compliment to another.  That’s what being fabulously fierce is all about, losing no light in your candle by lighting another’s! #ShineBright!

Soundtrack of the week: Some Soca from Ms. Patrice Roberts-a fab recommendation from our follower, Jasmine T.

Hello Hello!

Hope you are all doing fabulously well.  It has been quite some time since I’ve reached out to you here and I’ll spare you all the details, but what I’ll call some ‘LFF Operations and Competition’ Management requirements has kept me away….but I’m back!  Brace yourselves!!!!  J

So while I’ve been “away” I’ve observed an increase in the number of conversations around coaching, personal brand building, authenticity, being fearless, being brave, and being fearlessly brave.  It’s been quite inspiring but it has also really pressed me to help increase clarity around the reality of personal brand building.  As someone with a passion for this area of focus, I am always attuned to conversations around this aspect of our existence, especially when I am questioned about what it means to me and how I incorporate it into my coaching practice.  So what’s my point here?  Well, I think this is a perfect opportunity to visit/revisit what personal branding really is all about and some keys to success in pursuing either the development of your personal brand or managing it after you’ve put in the work to bring it to where it is!

Ok, so in terms of what personal branding actually is, just google the item and you will find different answers, lots of advice, tons of programs and the like.  From an LFF standpoint, I really do try to keep it pretty simple.  Essentially, personal branding/personal brand building is nothing more than going trhough the truly personal process of self-discovery, self-definition and self-distinction to facilitate a positive experience  for all who interact with you, in a way that is consistent with your values….essentially your authenticity.  Check out a few of my previous posts on this for some additional insight into this:

Now, what does it really take to be successful in the process of personal brand building?  So glad you asked J  It’s really quite simple (don’t you love it when people say that…#eyeroll).  Ok, maybe simple isn’t the right way to look at it but I will say straightforward when coupled with proactive intention….how’s that  J  A couple of months ago I was asked to share a summary of “keys to personal branding success” with some Babson folks.  Here’s what I shared, with some additional insight just for you!

  1. Position authenticity as your guide and target

I think it goes without saying that you really have to stay true to yourself but so many find this to be quite difficult.  In fact, I would submit that we are all challenged by this, just to different degrees with some more so than others.  Ultimately, as you focus your efforts on your personal brand, always focus on staying true to who you are.  This doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to having the same characteristics of others that can be developed but just don’t limit your potential to imitation.  Instead, focus on authentic replication, as you see fit, but set priority on what you already bring to the table.

  1. Know without question who you are and that entails

It actually amazes me how many of us don’t really take the time to know who we are.  My path recently crossed with that of another and what is most impressive about this individual is his lack of question as to who he is.  He knows through and through who he is, what he brings to the world, what he chooses not to, how he shows up, how others may/do perceive him, what he’s comfortable with, what he’s not….I could keep going but ultimately, you get the point…he’s done the work to know his history, know how he shows up, and what his intentions are through and through.  There is no value high enough to place on this.  Go for broke on this one!

  1. Seek feedback, proactively

I am a feedback junkie like none other.  No, not just for compliments, but I can actually acknowledge that I may have a slight obsession with always learning how I can be better, where I can improve (ask my friends…they’re rolling their eyes as we ‘speak’).  The challenge is we reserve this idea of finding out what others’ perspectives are just for the workplace.  We wait for mid-year or final reviews to find out how we’re doing…how we’re showing up.  In reality, we should really be doing this as much as possible….or ok, just with a more regular cadence.  No, it doesn’t mean you’re obsessed with what others’ think of you.  It just simply shows that you’re interested in determining to what degree your perspective and intention on how you show-up actually is reflected in the perspectives of others.  You will always have a choice in what you will accept and what you will discard.  Gasp!  You mean I can actually just not care about the feedback?  Ummmm, yeah!!!  Totally up to you!

  1. Own your brand

Living in a world where you have to spend more energy not engaging in social media than engaging, you really have to be intentional about not only how you show up, but where you show up as well.  There isn’t enough time in the day to share the examples of where some of us have fallen short in managing our online profiles-linkedin, facebook, twitter, Instagram etc, so I’ll just say this…make it a priority to reflect who you are in the best light, with authentic intention wherever there may be a chance someone else can get even a glimpse of you.

  1. Employ and engage confidence

A bit cheesy but this point reminds me of the song you learn in Sunday school or private school…This Little Light of Mine…..All I will say here is let go of that bushel and let your light shine.  There is no benefit to hiding or even limiting the impact of who you are and all that you have to offer this world.  Be confident throughout your branding process and as you own all that you are.  There’ more to lose in a dim space than one well lit.

  1. Slate regular “brand checks”

Anything worth its yield requires at least a minimum investment.  This goes for branding and the first place to start is with time.  I absolutely LOVE my clients.  Yes, they invest financially in the coaching engagements they employ me for in their journey, but what is amazing is the time they invest in the coaching process, both when we meet or have a call…AND between our sessions.  Yes, I give them homework/assignments (seriously I do) but they actually do invest the time in their brand health to make sure they’re in alignment with their goals.  Whether it’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, whatever you choose, just choose and stick with it.

  1. Focus on impact and legacy of your brand

Branding for branding sake has very limited value, especially when compared to the value in the process when you decide what impact you’re really looking to have.  For example, I’m working with a client now who recently just took over a very large team…and this team, simply put…is just a hot mess.  She recently engaged me in her coaching journey to help her determine how best to show up.  What we had to also focus on was what would be most value for her as it relates to how she is engaging with this team.  She has decided to focus her brand on being a resilient leader.  What is the impact/legacy you want your brand to have?

  1. Build an army of advocates

Even Oprah Winfrey has advocates, including some of us.  My point here is to make sure you are not going alone in championing for your brand.  We all need those who will advocate for us when we’re not there to do so for ourselves.  Professionally, I always suggest starting with a mentor, sponsor, and peer advocate-those individuals who will speak up about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you…positive reinforcement!

  1. Toot your own horn

This is one practice in which more of us fall short than not.  We have a very difficult time talking about our successes, strengths and areas of distinction.  I believe because we perceive this as bragging but what we have to recognize is, if we’re not tooting our own horn, we may go unnoticed, and the strongest brands are those that are noticed…for the right reason.

  1. Nurture the branding process

This is about more than just putting in the time…it’s also about putting in the effort and doing the required work to increase your personal self-awareness, committing to defining how you wish to be perceived, how you will show up, and proactively deciding what impact you will to have in all the circles in which you operate.


See, as promised….pretty simple…….I kid , I kid.  But in all seriousness, I don’t think this is something that is difficult but it does require a commitment and investment of time and energy.  So, hop to it!  And if you’ve got any questions you can always reach out!


Soundtrack of the Week:
Authenticity From the mouth of babes is what came to mind when I found this song by the young, Tiffany Alvord.  Enjoy!